Gay Melancholy

Automotive Professionals
Santa Fe

Right-wing antigay propaganda is really heating up, so now that we’re into June it’s worth reflecting on the last year.

Los Alamos was visited by Drag Queen Story Hour. There were two highlights in the Los Alamos Reporter: a very nice letter from David Daniel, and an academic reference, “Drag Pedagogy: The Playful Practice of Queer Imagination in Early Childhood.” The paper was so good I put a copy in our waiting room.

The only real way to get mad at DQSH is to believe two peculiar things: first, that gay men are pedophiles, and second, that progressives are bad parents. As we (should) know, pedophilia thrives when unscrupulous adults in trusted positions have unsupervised access to children—hence the two actual big pedophilia scandals surround the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America.

This is the first great hypocrisy of opposition to DQSH: right wingers like to hide bigotry behind “parental rights.” The rights of parents who are fine with drag queens are, apparently, not very important.

The second great hypocrisy is subtler and more personally offensive. Many of the people who opposed DQSH are customers of ours. The only thing I can work out is that they think we’re “good gays,” which itself is a moldy old hat—it reminds me of the way Gone with the Wind treats black people. They’re fine as long as they keep the house clean and work the fields, but we’ve gotta protect our way of life from meddling yankees!

It’s maybe worth taking another step back.

Culture Wars

It should be obvious that culture wars are proxies for class wars. To be clear, class war isn’t about a particular amount of income or wealth; class war is waged between those who own and those who don’t.

This plays out in Los Alamos between commercial landlords and tenants, and you can easily see two things up on the Hill: first, the ownership class is winning, and second, the result is economic desolation. This is the basic reason that things like LEDA are a dead end, that its only possible result is further strengthening the position of the owners.

So we’re left in an awkward position. If you recognize the role of culture war, it’s tempting to reject it. Unfortunately, this is impossible if you find yourself in the cultural crosshairs. No amount of rhetoric will stop a fascist from shooting you.

The purpose of culture war is divide-and-conquer, and another historical truth is, most people desperately want to be divided and conquered.

This even plays out in certain corners of the gay community, surrounding whether the T belongs in LGBT. The answer is “yes,” even on a bluntly pragmatic level. The only hope we have of surviving the culture wars is with solidarity.

Incidentally, despite economic “reasoning” to the contrary, owners always act in the interests of their class. This played out in Los Alamos during the brief debate about commercial real estate reform. The landlords rallied together and divided the council, so the decline of Los Alamos has continued unabated.

Dividing workers makes class war trivial.

Rainbow Capitalism

I went to Santa Fe Pride last year, and it was mostly vendor tents. I talked to some people at the New Mexico OUT Business Alliance, which bills itself as a gay chamber of commerce. They revealed that they are indeed a chamber of commerce when they invited me to a conference on a Friday afternoon—the absolute worst time for nearly every business owner.

They also sent me a survey. It asked about a particular brand of vodka (don’t remember which one) that’s made some contributions to LGBT causes, and whether knowing that makes me more likely to buy that vodka. The answer is no, because that’s just brand strategy.

Modern advertising is about brand-as-lifestyle: buy a Volkswagen because you’re unique, buy an Apple because you’re counterculture, shop at Whole Foods because you care about the environment. We’ve seen the even darker side of this with Budweiser and Target, and the only shocking thing is that so many people are so daft.

The debate about rainbow capitalism—Bethesda slapping a rainbow on its Twitter logo in regions where a rainbow will get you social cred—is similarly perverse. Corporate advertising departments are weather vanes, but weather vanes don’t control the wind. There was a time that Volkswagen had a swastika in its logo, then 20 years later they were the hippie car.

Then some Targets get vandalized, and Target’s response is to reduce their Pride merchandising.


My car, a 1993 Mazda Miata, is in the body shop getting sanded down and repainted. The body shop is our tenant, and Jordan asked what he was up to. The tenant replied, I’m painting my landlord’s car so he renews my lease. I imagine he was only half joking.

Jordan and I are pragmatists, so we recognize that the only way forward on the class wars is to become owners.

The culture wars are trickier. Will we have to start filing federal taxes separately, because of power tripping by nine crazy people in black dresses? On a smaller scale, what would happen if we refused to fix cars owned by bigots? Should we be stockpiling guns and ammunition? What’s the pragmatic play here? Pragmatism is hard to nail down when everything is so irrational.

On a lighter note, I’d like to make the shop’s front office gayer. If you’re an artist interested in a commission to make us a gay pride mechanic opossum, contact us at And—this matters more than ever—stay safe out there